Tag Archives: Irish folk music

Artist Profiles: Connie Dover

Connie Dover – Photo by Gherig Fry

Connie Dover is an acclaimed singer specialized in the traditional music of Great Britain and Ireland. Her remarkable voice and inspired arrangements have earned her a  place among the world’s finest Celtic singers.

Connie’s best-selling albums: Somebody (1991) The Wishing Well (1994) and If Ever I Return (1997) and The Border of Heaven (2000) were produced by former Silly Wizard multi-instrumentalist Phil Cunningham. They feature instrumentation by excellent traditional musicians from both side of the Atlantic.

Connie began her Celtic music career as a lead singer for the Kansas City-based Irish band Scartaglen. She also performed in a duo with former Scartaglen member Roger Landes. She has toured extensively throughout the USA and Canada appearing on radio television in concert and at nearly every major folk festival in North America.

In addition to her solo recordings Connie contributed songs to seven recordings on the Narada Record label and has been a guest on numerous collections of folk and Celtic music. In 1991 she founded the Taylor Park Music record label to release her own albums which are now distributed worldwide. Her voice can also be heard in film and television soundtracks and she was a music consultant for the Ang Lee Civil War epic film Ride with the Devil.

Born in Arkansas and raised in Missouri, Connie Dover is of English, Cherokee, Mexican, and Scots/Irish descent. She discovered the wealth of the Celtic music tradition as a teenager and began a search that continues to this day devoting her life to the research collection preservation and recording of traditional songs and ballads. Her history degree earned from William Jewell College and her undergraduate work at Oxford University have further enriched her unique perspective of the historical context of folk music and her insightful interpretations bring ancient ballads to life.

When Connie is not touring or recording she spends time working on Wyoming cattle ranches where she is a trail cook during ranch cattle drives (and where she can often be heard singing old-time songs around a roaring campfire to the accompaniment of hoarse cowboys and lowing cattle).

The theme that runs through her work is the exploration of the common ground between British Isles and American folk music and she offers the modern listener a musical experience that transcends both centuries and cultural boundaries and affirms our connection with the past.

Discography:

Somebody (Taylor Park Music TPMCD 11, 1991)

The Wishing Well (Taylor Park Music TPMD 21, 1994)

If Ever I Return (Taylor Park Music, 1997)

The Border of Heaven (Taylor Park Music, 2000)

The Holly & The Ivy (Taylor Park Music, 2009)

Restless Angel – Ranch Girl Love Lyrics (Taylor Park Music, 2016)

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Artist Profiles: Cherish the Ladies

Cherish the Ladies in 2008

Cherish the Ladies is an Irish traditional music sensation, one of the most successful and sought-after Irish-American groups in Celtic music history. The group was named after a well-known Irish traditional jig.

Organized in in 1985 by folklorist and musician Mick Moloney and sponsored by the Ethnic Folk Arts Center and the National Endowment for the Arts, they began as a concert series featuring the brightest lights in Irish traditional music. Though initially the group won recognition as the first and only all-women traditional Irish band, they soon established themselves as musicians and performers without peer and have won many thousands of listeners and fans of their music.

With their remarkable mix of skilled instrumental talents, beautiful vocals, captivating arrangements and dazzling step dancing, Cherish the Ladies combines all the facets of Irish traditional culture and puts it forth in a humorous and entertaining package. The group has traveled throughout North and South America, the United Kingdom and Europe performing in the finest concert halls and international festivals. They have been named Entertainment Group of the Year by the Irish Voice Newspaper and received the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall’s International Group of the Year Award at the Celtic Connections Festival in Scotland.

The original musicians were Joanie Madden (flute, whistles), Mary Coogan (guitar), Maureen Doherty Macken (button accordion, whistle), Winifred Horan (fiddle, dancing feet), Siobhan Egan (bodhran), Eileen Golden (dancing feet).

Discography:

Cherish the Ladies: Irish Women Musicians in America (Shanachie, 1985)

Fathers And Daughters from Cherish the Ladies: Irish Traditional Music in America (1985)

The Back Door (Green Linnet, 1992)

Out and About (Green Linnet, 1993)

New Day Dawning (Green Linnet, 1996)

Live! (1997)

One and All: The Best of Cherish the Ladies (Green Linnet, 1998)

Threads of Time (1998)

At Home (1999)

The Girls Won’t Leave the Boys Alone (2001)

Across the Waves (2004)

On Christmas Night (Rounder, 2004)

Woman of the House (Rounder, 2005)

A Star In The East (2009)

Country Crossroads (2011)

An Irish Homecoming, Live from Bucknell (2013)

Christmas in Ireland (2015)

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Artist Profiles: Cathie Ryan

Cathie Ryan

 

Irish-American soprano vocalist and songwriter Cathie Ryan grew up in Detroit, Michigan,  surrounded by traditional Irish influences.  She is expert at the ancient art of sean nos (pronounced “shan-nos”) unaccompanied singing, and its traces can be heard in her delicate trilling and subtle ornamentation. The Detroit influences are also there in the form of blues and R&B beats.

 

Cathie Ryan

 

“I would describe my music as coming from an Irish-American experience,” Ryan said. “I was raised by Irish parents in an American city setting, and my music comes from that, from all of that. But I always thought you had to do one or the other: you were either an American singer or you were an Irish singer. It has taken time to understand that I can be both. I just sing what’s in me.”

Cathie has released several solo albums and is featured on more than forty compilations of Celtic Music.

 

Cathie Ryan

 

There is nothing like a live show, being with an audience, sharing the music. That is the best part of being a singer and writing songs ,’ she says.

In 2003 Cathie was included in the famous Irish music collection, A Woman’s Heart’ A Decade On placing her among Irish music’s finest female vocalists and songwriters. It was the first time Americans were featured in the series and she shared the honor with Allison Krauss, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris.

Her original songs have been recorded by distinguished Irish vocalists such as Frances Black and Mary Black among others.

Discography:

Cathie Ryan (Shanachie, 1997)

Mother, with Robin Spielberg and Susan McKeown (North Star, 1999)

The Music of What Happens (Shanachie, 1998)

Somewhere Along the Road (Shanachie, 2001)

The Farthest Wave (Shanachie, 2005)

Through Wind and Rain (Mo Leanbh Records, 2012)

website: http://www.cathieryan.com

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Artist Profiles: Cathal McConnell

Cathal McConnell

Cathal McConnell is known and respected all over the world for his masterful flute playing and singing, solo as well as with his band, Boys of the Lough and for the enormous number of tunes and songs he has stored in his head over a lifetime in music. A co-founder of the band and a member for nearly thirty years, Cathal and the Boys Of The Lough have performed in major concert halls throughout the world and have recorded nearly twenty albums.

Born in Co. Fermanagh, in Northern Ireland, he won All-Ireland Championships in both flute and tin whistle at the age of 18. Five years later he started touring with the first incarnation of the Boys of the Lough and has been with them ever since as instrumentalist and lead singer. He has become well known over the years as a true virtuoso of the flute and pennywhistle.

Discography

The Boys of the Lough (Trailer Records, 1973)
Second Album (Trailer Records, 1973)
Live at Passim’s (Philo Records, 1974)
Lochaber No More (Philo Records, 1976)
The Piper’s Broken Finger (Transatlantic Records, 1976)
An Irish Jubilee ‎(Topic Records, 1976)
Good Friends … Good Music (Transatlantic Records, 1977)
On Lough Erne’s Shore (Topic Records, 1978)
Wish You Were Here (Transatlantic Records, 1978)
Regrouped (Flying Fish, 198)
In the Tradition (Topic Records, 1981)
Open Road (Topic Records, 1983)
To Welcome Paddy Home (Philo Records, 1985)
Far From Home – Live (Shanachie Records, 1986)
Farewell and Remember Me (Shanachie Records, 1987)
Sweet Rural Shade (Shanachie Records, 1988)
Live at Carnegie Hall (1992)
The Fair Hills of Ireland (Lough Records, 1992)
The Day Dawn (Lough Records, 1994)
Midwinter Night’s Dream (Blix Street Records, 1996)
The West of Ireland (Lough Records, 1999)
Long Expectant Comes at Last (2000)
Lonesome Blues and Dancing Shoes (Lough Records, 2002)
Twenty (Lough Records, 2005)
Rising Fawn Gathering, with Norman Blake (Western Jubilee Recording Company/Plectrafone Records, 2009)
Good Friends – Good Music (Rounder, 2009)

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Artist Profiles: Ben Sands

Ben Sands

Ben Sands lives in Newry, County Down, close to the mountains and the sea and not far from the small farm where he and his six siblings grew up in the 1950s and 1960s.

He’s a songwriter who sings about life and love and the ways of the world.  Sands is also a multi-instrumentalist. He plays guitar, banjo, mandolin, whistles, keyboards, and fiddle.

Ben has been touring and recording with his sister Anne and brothers Tommy and Colum since the late 1960s. The Sands Family have recorded over twenty albums to date; made numerous television appearances; and performed extensively in Ireland, UK, Europe, Canada and USA.

The members of the Family still  get together for special tours and festival appearances but are also, pursuing successful solo careers.

Discography:

Take Your time (1993)

Roots and Branches (1998)

Better Already (Spring Records, 2003)

Take My Love With You (Spring Records, 2010)

Troubadour (Spring Records, 2015)

website: www.bensands.com

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Artist Profiles: The Chieftains

The Chieftains

 

The Chieftains started in Dublin, Ireland, in November 1962, introducing the world to the timeless sounds of traditional Irish music. The original line-up consisted of band leader Paddy Moloney (uilleann pipes and tin whistles), Sean Potts (tin whistle), Martin Fay (fiddle), David Fallon (bodhran), Mick Tubridy (flute, concertina), and Sean O’Riada.

Although their early following was purely a folk audience, the range and variation of their music very quickly captured a much broader public, resulting in their present fame worldwide. “We didn’t go to college to learn this music,” said group founder, Paddy Moloney, about their music. “It was passed on to us through our families, from our fathers and our grandparents. I was fortunate to have this music be such an important part of my life. It was like learning a language. It came naturally to me.”

 

The Chieftains

 

Kevin Conneff joined the band on vocals and bodhran in 1976. Bothy Band flute player Matt Molloy was added in 1979. In 1983, The Chieftains became the first group to ever perform on the Great Wall of China. In 1988, they joined forces with fellow countryman Van Morrison on Irish Heartbeat which began an historic series of collaborations including recordings with James Galway, Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, The Rolling Stones, Sting, Tom Jones, Sinead O’Connor, Linda Ronstadt, Los Lobos, Ry Cooder and many others. They also continued their acclaimed work in soundtracks, on such films as Treasure Island, Tristan And Isolde, The Grey Fox and Far and Away.

In 1992, The Chieftains recorded the double Grammy-winning Another Country, with performances by such country and bluegrass stars as Emmylou Harris, Ricky Skaggs, Willie Nelson, Chet Atkins and Don Williams. They returned to Nashville in 2002 for Down The Old Plank Road, their 40th career album, featuring such special guests as Vince Gill, Lyle Lovett, Earl Scruggs, Alison Krauss, Martina McBride and others.

In 2003, the CD Further Down the Old Plank Road continued the groundbreaking collaboration between The Chieftains and some of country and bluegrass music’s most original and influential artists, celebrating the Irish roots of American country and folk idioms. Featured on the album are artists including Carlene Carter, Rosanne Cash, Allison Moorer, Nickel Creek, and Jerry Douglas. The album also contains some of the final performances from multi-instrumentalist Derek Bell, a long-standing Chieftains member who passed away in 2002. The band recorded in Nashville, incorporating country sounds with Irish.

The Chieftains earned a Grammy in 1998 for Best Traditional Folk Album for Long Journey Home. Their score for Stanley Kubrick’s 1995 movie Barry Lyndon won them the Oscar, while they received an Emmy for their music in the play Playboy of the Western World. Besides ‘live’ performances and music, The Chieftains have also composed the scores for other Hollywood movies such as Rob Roy, Circle of Friends and Far and Away.

Live From Dublin: A Tribute to Derek Bell, was released early in 2005, and celebrates the life and legacy of the long-standing member who passed away suddenly in 2002. Recorded live at Ireland’s premiere performing venues, the Gaiety Theater and National Concert Hall, LIVE FROM DUBLIN includes a medley – “Derek’s Tune” – composed by Paddy Moloney as an appropriate goodbye to their friend. The landmark recording is also filled with other brand new selections that exemplify and enhance the group’s traditional sound, rounded off through the distinctive artistry of harpist Triona Marshall and Spanish pipe virtuoso Carlos Nuñez.

 

The Chieftains

 

Throughout the years, the band has performed with countless established rock and jazz music stars including Sting, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Sinead O’Connor, Natalie Merchant, Diana Krall, Art Garfunkel, Los Lobos, Loreena McKennitt and Tom Jones. They also recorded two albums with flutist James Galway.

The 2006 version of the Chieftains included Paddy Moloney on the Uilleann pipes and tin whistles; Kevin Conneff on bodhrán and vocals; Seán Keane on the fiddle; and Matt Molloy on the flute.

 

 

Discography

The Chieftains 1 (Claddagh Records CC 02, 1963)
The Chieftains 2 (Claddagh Records CC 07, 1969)
The Chieftains 3 (Claddagh Records CC 10, 1971)
The Chieftains 4 (Claddagh Records CC 14, 1973)
The Chieftains 5 (Claddagh Records CC 16, 1975)
The Chieftains 6: Bonaparte’s Retreat (Claddagh Records, 1976)
The Chieftains 7 (Claddagh Records CC 24, 1977)
The Chieftains Live! (Claddagh Records CC 21, 1977)
The Chieftains 8 (CBS 35726, 1978)
The Chieftains 9: Boil the Breakfast Early (Claddagh Records CC 30, 1979)
The Chieftains 10: Cotton-Eyed Joe (Claddagh Records CC 33, 1981)
The Year of the French (Claddagh Records CC36, 1982)
The Grey Fox (1982) (soundtrack to The Grey Fox)
Concert Orchestra (1982)
The Chieftains in China (Claddagh Records CC 42, 1985)
Ballad of the Irish Horse (Claddagh Records CCF, 1986)
Celtic Wedding (RCA 6358, 1987)
In Ireland, with James Galway (1987)
Irish Heartbeat, with Van Morrison (Polydor 834496, 1988)
The Tailor Of Gloucester (WD-0710, 1988)
A Chieftains Celebration (RCA 7858, 1989)
Over the Sea To Skye: The Celtic Connection (1990) (with James Galway)
The Bells of Dublin (RCA 60824, 1991)
Another Country (RCA 60939, 1992)
An Irish Evening (RCA 60916, 1992)
The Celtic Harp: A Tribute To Edward Bunting, with The Belfast Harp Orchestra (RCA 61490, 1993)
The Long Black Veil (RCA Victor 09026-62702-2, 1995)
Film Cuts (RCA Victor 09026-68438-2, 1996)
Santiago (RCA Victor 09026-68602-2, 1996)
Long Journey Home (1998)
Fire in the Kitchen (1998)
Silent Night: A Christmas in Rome (1998)
Tears of Stone (1999)
Water From the Well (2000)
The Wide World Over (2002)
Down the Old Plank Road: The Nashville Sessions (2002)
Further Down the Old Plank Road (Arista/BMG, 2003)
Live From Dublin: A Tribute To Derek Bell (2005)
The Essential Chieftains (2006)
San Patricio, with Ry Cooder (2010)
Voice of Ages (2012)

Videos

Down The Old Plank Road TV special, filmed at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium.

Web site: www.thechieftains.com

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Artist Profiles: Téada

Téada

Founded by Sligo fiddler Oisín Mac Diarmada, Téada was formed in 2001 to make an appearance on the innovative Irish television series ‘Flosc’. Téada (meaning ‘strings’ in the Irish language) emerged as one of the most exciting and traditional young Irish bands of recent years. Since 2001, Téada has evolved to frequent headline performances at major music festivals throughout the United States of America, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.

The original line-up included Oisin Mac Diarmada (fiddle), John Blake (guitar, flute, piano), Seán McElwain (guitar/bouzouki), Tristan Rosenstock (bodhrán) . With engaging textural arrangements, Téada, meaning “strings” in the Irish language revels in the vibrant traditional music of Ireland. Deftly playing up its structural intricacies while preserving the contagious energy inherent in the repertoire, the group strives to capture a sense of the rawness and individuality of the solo artist, within a modern group context.

The band released its debut album in Dublin and it reached the No. 1 position at Celtic Note, Dublin’s largest Irish Music store. A notable highlight was a headlining appearance to a 30,000-audience in Brittany during 2006, a year which also saw the band launch a hugely successful CD/DVD Inné Amárach, released by released by Gael Linn and Compass Records.

Téada won Irish Music Magazines Best New Traditional Irish Band of the Year Award for 2003.

2008 proved to be an extremely eventful year for the group, with a performance at Edmonton Folk Festival in Canada and a headlining appearance at the Penang World Music Festival in Malaysia. The group also received an invitation from the Irish Embassy in Rome to perform at a commemorative event marking the 400th anniversary of the landmark event in Irish history known as “The Flight of the Earls”.

Band Members in 2010: Oisin Mac Diarmada (fiddle), Paul Finn (button accordion), Damien Stenson (flute), Seán McElwain (guitar/bouzouki), Tristan Rosenstock (bodhrán)

Discography

* Teada (Ceol Records CEOCD 002, 2003)
* Give us a penny and let us be gone (Green Linnet 1228, 2004)
* Inne Amarach (Yesterday Tomorrow) (Gael Linn/Compass Records, 2006)
* Ceol & Cuimhne – Music & Memory (Compass Records, 2010)
* Ainneoin Na Stoirme – In Spite Of The Storm (2013)

Web: teada.com

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Artist Profiles: Seán Óg Graham

Seán Óg Graham

Seán Óg Graham is from Portglenone, Co. Antrim, Ireland. He’s one of Ireland’s best button accordion players. Seán Óg Graham has achieved numerous All-Ireland titles and is also a gifted, self-taught guitarist.

Seán Óg Graham has several television appearances to his credit, and has appeared as guest soloist with the Irish Harp Orchestra, the Canadian Youth Orchestra and Alan Kelly’s ‘Celtic Legends’ show. He has recorded with various Irish musicians and recently he has been accompanying Solas members Winifred Horan and Mick McAuley at their ‘Serenade’ concerts in Ireland and Europe.

Seán Óg is also a talented composer. He’s a graduate of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at Limerick University, where he has been guided by oustanding musicians.

He is a member of famed Irish band Beoga.

Discography

A Lovely Madness (Compass Records, 2004)
Mischief (Compass Records,2007)
The Incident (Compass Records, 2009)
How to Tune a Fish (2011)
Beoga: Live At 10 -The 10th Anniversary Concert (Compass Records, 2014)
Before We Change Our Mind (2016)

Web sites: www.beogamusic.com

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Artist Profiles: Rick Epping

Rick Epping – Photo from New Road Live in Dublin, February 2014

American multi-instrumentalist Rick Epping plays harmonica, concertina, banjo, and jaw harp. He’s a native of California and has been moving back and forth between Ireland and the United States for over 30 years. During this time, Epping has been playing the folk music of both countries since childhood.

Epping has performed with acclaimed musicians such as Bill Monroe, Texas bluesman Mance Lipscomb and Irish accordionist Joe Cooley. On his album The Unwanted he features a trio that includes Irish musicians Séamus O’Dowd (fiddle) and Cathy Jordan (Dervish’s vocalist).

Discography

Pumpkinhead (Mulligan LUN 001, 1978)
Jiggin’ the Blues, with Frankie Gavin and Tim Edey (G2CD7011)
Music from the Atlantic Fringe (Compass, 2009)

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Artist Profiles: Oisin Mac Diarmada

Oisín Mac Diarmada

Oisín Mac Diarmada was born in 1978 in County Clare, Ireland. He learned how to play the fiddle at a young age. Oisín later moved to Co. Sligo where he developed a deep interest in the playing style of the North Connacht region. He won various competitions for young musicians.

His first solo album, “Ar an bhFidil” (Green Linnet) was released in 2003. Oisín is one of the founders of acclaimed contemporary Irish folk music group Téada. Oisín is also a regular solo performer and appears as guest soloist with various other acts.

Oisín was awarded a Research Studentship by Dundalk Institute of Technology, pursuing postgraduate studies under the direction of Dr. Fintan Vallely in the area of “Political Identity & Movement to Music”.

Discography

* Ar an bhFidil (Green Linnet, 2003)
* Teada, with Teada (Ceol Records CEOCD 002, 2003)
* Give us a penny and let us be gone, with Teada (Green Linnet 1228, 2004)
* Inne Amarach (Yesterday Tomorrow), with Teada (Gael Linn/Compass Records, 2006)
* Ceol & Cuimhne (Music & Memory), with Teada (Compass Records, 2010)
* Le Chéile / Together, with Seamus Begley (Ceol Productions, 2012)
* An Irish Christmas Soundscape, with Seamus Begley (Ceol Productions, 2012)
* Ainneoin Na Stoirme (In Spite of the Storm), with Teada (Ceol Productions, 2013)
* The Green Branch / An Géagán Glas (Ceol Productions, 2015)

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